A LIFELONG LOVE OF FOOD and two years spent working at a vacation resort in Suffolk, United Kingdom, led Christo Pretorius to a culinary career. Now the small boy who grew up in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is the award-winning executive chef of all restaurants and banquets and events at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town.
While following in the footsteps of his mentor, Henrico Grobbelaar, under whom he worked as executive sous chef at The Twelve Apostles, Pretorius also made his own mark at the hotel with inventive new menus focused on international and local cuisine. He also makes a mark on the community, recognized for his efforts on sustainable seafood practices, participating in events centered around youth development and more. He’s received a number of accolades.
“My goal as a chef is to create lasting memories. Engaging all senses is what creates truly special memories that diners will cherish forever,” said Pretorius. From the sounds of it, mission accomplished.
WHICH FOOD IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE? AND ON THE OPPOSITE END OF THE SPECTRUM, WHAT IS ONE INGREDIENT OR FOOD YOU HATE TO USE? Guilty pleasure is a tin of condensed milk (I’m not entirely sure what the U.S. equivalent is); for some reason, I cannot resist it. My mother used to make me eat gem squash as a child, like all moms do, stuffed with corn and gratinated with cheese. I cannot cook with it at all now.
WHAT DISHES WOULD YOU SERVE AT A PRIVATE DINNER PARTY? That depends who my guests are! My wife, something Asian; my friends, something on a braai/barbecue grill that I caught myself; and for a VIP, I’d serve one of my signature Azure dishes, like the grilled baby squid with barley risotto, creamed artichoke, barley puffs, soy truffle purée, soy pickled shiitake mushrooms and green onion oil.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST MEAL YOU EVER PREPARED ON YOUR OWN? One of the first really cool items we learned to make at chef school was marshmallows. I was so intrigued by the way you can whip up egg whites and create something so magical. Early on in my career, my menu was filled with weird and wonderful flavored marshmallows. Looking back, I definitely overdid them.
IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE IN ONE DISH, WHICH DISH WOULD IT BE AND WHY? Springbok loin with pickled apple, red cabbage, cranberry gel, celeriac purée and roast springbok jus. I have always been proudly South African. We, as South African chefs, are incredibly lucky with the quality of produce we get here. If you have traveled elsewhere, you realize how lucky we are to be able to afford the quality, abundance and variety of meats and vegetables available to us in South Africa. We need to respect and celebrate it in our profession as much as we can.
WHICH CULINARY TREND WOULD YOU LIKE TO DISAPPEAR? Slate plates! If you’ve ever put your knife into a steak and cut into a slate plate, you’ll know what I mean. We shouldn’t compromise the dining experience by wanting something to look sexy. It should feel and eat well, too. Operating equipment evolved so much in the past decade, but it should enhance the experience, not the other way around.
Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts invites travelers to celebrate the holidays at any of its properties in Riviera Maya, Mexico. There is no time like the present for you to experience a stay at one of these luxury resorts.
Discover why Global Traveler readers named Cunard® the Best Large-Ship Cruise Line for seven consecutive years. For a limited time, book your voyage during Cunard’s Explore with More promotion and take advantage of lower fares*, up to $1,200 Onboard Credit†, Free Specialty Dining for Two^, 50% Reduced Deposit††, and more. Choose from an array of exciting journeys, including Transatlantic Crossings and voyages to Alaska, the Caribbean and Canada & New England.
After a two-year hiatus from in-person sporting and outdoor recreation events, the seaside, car-free town of Las Catalinas in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, recently announced the return of the annual Tri Las Catalinas, an off-road, multisport triathlon, Feb. 15–18.
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Plan a célébration spéciale this holiday season with a stay at a historic French chateau in the Loire Valley. If pipers piping and dancers dancing are part of your dream holiday experience, set your compass for Château de Chambord, where 100 twinkling Christmas trees set a festive tone for Renaissance music and dancing, storytelling, performances, workshops, themed activities and more. Guests can sip mulled wine and nibble on sweet indulgences, or peruse the shops for authentic, artisanal Chambord products crafted from the estate’s own natural resources.
For the 12th consecutive year, Global Traveler recognizes the best of the best in the industry, naming 2022’s Airline of the Year and Hotel of the Year.
ISN’T IT TIME? It's time to treat yourself to the vacation you deserve, and Celebrity Cruises® offers the perfect escapes. With an award-winning fleet of ships that sail to more than 300 destinations around the world, Celebrity will take you almost anywhere you want to go in style. Enjoy stunning staterooms and suites, culinary experiences imagined by Michelin-starred chefs and intuitive service. Celebrity makes sure your vacation is effortless from the start, which is why drinks, WiFi and tips are Always IncludedSM on every sailing.
What a year 2022 has been for travel! It’s not an understatement to say travel rebounded and surged following the pandemic, and airlines, hotels, travel providers and more are ready and waiting to serve the masses returning to the beautiful art of traveling. As such, we celebrate and award those who do it best as we announce the 2022 winners of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards, our 19th year honoring the best of the best in the world of travel. Our countdown to year No. 20 begins now.